Tyler Foreman leaves UCLA, Zach Whitley still on roster

This post originally stated that UCLA had dismissed linebacker Zach Whitley due to a team issue.

Safety/linebacker Tyler Foreman has been granted his release from UCLA and will transfer out, as first reported by Bruin Report Online.

Foreman arrived at UCLA as a four-star safety prospect in 2013, and moved to linebacker after a redshirt year. He only played in two games, and had one tackle.

However, linebacker Zach Whitley is still on the roster, a UCLA spokesperson said Friday afternoon. Originally an Alabama commitment, Whitley lived up to his four-star billing immediately in spring camp, looking like a player who would earn a spot in the defensive two-deep. Although the staff unsuccessfully tried him at outside linebacker, Whitley showed natural instincts playing behind the ball.

However, that promise never translated during his debut season. After suffering a concussion and missing part of preseason training camp in San Bernardino, Whitley only played in nine games and recorded a single tackle.

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VIDEO: Steve Alford talks about UCLA’s win vs. Cal State Fullerton

Back at Pauley Pavilion after a bumpy trip to the Bahamas, UCLA bounced back with an easy 73-45 win over a vastly inferior Cal State Fullerton team. The Bruins held the Titans to 24.1 percent shooting, and only gave up eight offensive rebounds.

However, UCLA’s bench didn’t score until the final six minutes — although head coach Steve Alford said he isn’t overly concerned about point production from his reserves.

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Eric Kendricks named one of four Lott IMPACT Trophy finalists

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks celebrates an interception with his teammates during the Bruins' 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks celebrates an interception with his teammates during the Bruins’ 38-20 win over USC on Nov. 22, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks had to settle for All-Pac-12 second team last night, but today he became a finalist for a second major national award.

The Bruins’ all-time leading tackler is one of four candidates left for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, given each year to a top defensive player for both his on- and off-field contributions. He is joined by Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, Duke linebacker David Helton and Alabama safety Landon Collins.

Former UCLA All-American linebacker Anthony Barr won the Lott IMPACT Trophy last season, which netted a $25,000 donation to the school’s general scholarship fund. Founded in 2004, the award has yet to be granted to multiple players from the same program.

Kendricks is also one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, given to college football’s best linebacker.

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UCLA’s All-Pac-12 selections led by … Ishmael Adams?

UCLA's Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC's Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA’s Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC’s Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Another round of All-Pac-12 awards, another chorus of approval from across the conference.

Just kidding. As always, postseason honors generate a good amount of chatter, as fans of every team ask why their favorite players were snubbed. But even considering that type of bias, UCLA’s placements on the all-conference teams on Tuesday night were … particularly eye-raising. (You can see the full results, as voted on by Pac-12 head coaches, at the bottom of this post.)

The biggest surprise was Ishmael Adams’ status as the Bruins’ lone first-team pick. Five defensive backs were featured instead of the usual four due to ties, but the scrappy 5-foot-8 cornerback might not even be the best on his own team. The problem is consistency. He made his share of big plays — he returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season — but also saw moments where he gave up key catch or committed a costly penalty.

His presence on the All-Pac-12 first team was even more striking considering the absence of linebacker Eric Kendricks, who recently broke the Bruins’ all-time tackles record. The senior settled for a second-team spot, behind Arizona’s Scooby Wright — the league’s defensive MVP — and Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Shaq Thompson. Continue reading

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UCLA is No. 15 in latest College Football Playoff rankings

Based on the latest College Football Playoff rankings, UCLA looks like it’s on track to play in the Alamo Bowl.

The Bruins dropped seven spots to No. 15 after losing to Stanford last week, but the more notable move happened above. Arizona jumped four spots to No. 7 after clinching the Pac-12 South, and is now positioned to stay in the top 10 even if it loses to Oregon in the conference title game on Friday.

If that happens, the Wildcats would earn a spot in the Fiesta or Cotton Bowl as an at-large selection. The Alamo Bowl would have the next pick out of the Pac-12, and seem likely to pick UCLA over Arizona State and USC given the Bruins’ head-to-head wins. Ninth-ranked Kansas State is the Big 12′s probable candidate for San Antonio, unless it upsets No. 6 Baylor this Saturday.

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Pac-12 to announce all-conference football teams at 8 p.m.

The Pac-12 will announce its all-conference football teams tonight at 8 p.m. PT, part of the league’s effort to build its television presence.

Instead of the customary press release, the teams will be revealed during the Pac-12 Football Weekly program on Pac-12 Networks. Players of the year and coach of the year will be announced beforehand.

UPDATE: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, while Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright picked up top defensive honors. Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez won Coach of the Year.

Ducks tailback Royce Freeman and USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson were named the conference’s top freshmen on offense and defense, respectively.

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UCLA’s Jake Brendel earns third Pac-12 All-Academic selection

UCLA center Jake Brendel was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team this morning, marking his third straight appearance on the list.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman has a 3.39 GPA in economics and has started 38 of 39 possible games in his career, sitting out the Bruins’ season opener at Virginia with a knee injury. Without him, UCLA’s offensive line allowed five sacks and committed five false starts in a performance lambasted by position coach Adrian Klemm.

The redshirt junior is one of seven players in the conference to earn a spot on the Pac-12 All-Academic first team for the third time. Continue reading

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Paul Perkins finishes regular season as Pac-12′s rushing leader

UCLA's Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014.  (Will Lester/Staff)

UCLA’s Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014. (Will Lester/Staff)

Paul Perkins wasn’t UCLA’s starting running back to start the year, but he has ended the regular season as the Pac-12′s leading rusher.

The redshirt sophomore has run for 1,381 yards in 12 games, putting him on top of the conference’s tightest rushing race in years. However, the Pac-12′s record book also factors in postseason games, including the Pac-12 Championship this Friday.

Where the league’s top backs currently stand: Continue reading

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UCLA finishes regular season at No. 16 in Associated Press poll

With the regular season now over, UCLA is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll — the same spot it held after its Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech last year.

A 31-10 loss to Stanford on Friday dropped the Bruins seven spots, ending a four-week streak of steady climbs up the national rankings. UCLA is now the third-highest ranked team in the Pac-12, behind No. 3 Oregon and No. 8 Arizona, who will face each other in the Pac-12 Championship this coming Friday.

Jim Mora’s third season will likely end in the Alamo, Holiday or Foster Farms Bowl.

See the full AP poll below: Continue reading

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